Thousands of young people from across Australia have arrived in Perth as the Archdiocese of Perth which hosted the 2019 Australian Catholic Youth Festival.
When combined with almost 1800 young Catholics from Western Australia, the 5500 attendees spent three days from Sunday, December 8 to Tuesday, December 10 reflecting on the Biblical exhortation to “Listen to what the Spirit is saying”.
The Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) combines a number of traditional and innovative approaches to help young people better understand – through prayer, through justice activities, through music, through conversation and many other methods – the Catholic Faith.
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said ACYF will be a pivotal moment in the life of the Church in Western Australia.
“The Church in the West has a long and rich history, but never before have we had the chance to celebrate the Catholic Faith with such a large number of people,” he said.
“We know that the Festival has had an impact on young Catholics and on the local Church in other host cities, and we expect ACYF 2019 will be no different. The fruits of the Festival will be felt locally for many years.”
Archbishop Costelloe is one of more than 30 Australian bishops who will be at the Festival. Bishop Columba Macbeth-Green OSPPE, the Delegate for Youth for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, said he and his brother bishops look forward to ACYF every two years.
“One of the great innovations of the Festival is the Bishops’ X-Change when we get a chance to converse with young people on a range of important topics – building on the conversations we have locally through our schools and parishes,” he said.
“This year, many of those sessions will allow us to speak with young Catholics about the Plenary Council, an event that will help the Church in Australia look to the future.”
The Encounter Expo, with more than 80 stalls featuring Catholic agencies, organizations, religious orders, ecclesial movements and all types of Catholic groups from across Australia that offer a range of interactive and experiential activities to explore the breadth and depth of the Church’s mission in Australia;
Musical performances from local and international artists, including Australian singer-songwriter Fr Rob Galea and US singer Joe Melendrez;
Presentations from local and international speakers, including Katie Prejean McGrady and Grace Forrest;
The Justice Activity Centre, a place of education, empowerment, mission, and service, with a range of interactive experiences and activities facilitated by various organizations and groups that encourage young people to engage with justice issues and people affected by injustice;
The Experiential Prayer Room and Worship Centre, showcasing different styles of prayer, including Taize, Eucharistic Adoration, praying with icons.
The festival ended with a Closing Mass held at Trinity College, with an estimated 7000 in attendance, including members of the wider Perth Catholic community.